You Are Reading

Design For Print: Inks

*Written in my own words*

Glitter and Metallic inks These inks are often found in gold and silver varieties, they have good opacity and can used in many traditional printing methods as a spot colour. When making use of this type of ink it should be considered that unless these inks are coated with a top varnish they can easily scratch and also rub off onto other surfaces. They also many require extra drying time which can slow down production time, the inks usually work best when a coated stock is being used as the substrate, this achieves the highest quality results. These inks are not ideal for outdoor applications or fabrics.

Pearlescent Inks These inks are available in a range of colours, they are often pastel like shades and tones. These inks are transparent and can be used with processes such as Flexography and rotogravure they are not suitable for offset lithography. These particular inks can be spot printed over non pearlescent colours to enhance there shine similar to a spot varnish. When used alone without a base colour they produce a more subtle tone. These inks also work best when applied to a coated or smooth surfaced stock.

Food-safe Inks These are inks that are regulated by the food and drug administration agency which consult with industry professional to ensure these inks are safe to be used when printing packaging for food products. The complete colour range is available within the boundary of this type of ink. They can be used with all printing processes and in particular pad printing for 3D surfaces.

Scented Inks Scented ink do not come in a range of colours but they come available as a clear ink which can then be overprinted, as the ink is transparent it does not affect the colour of base print. There are hundreds of different scents available at a standard cost however bespoke scents can also be manufactured at an additional production cost.

Glow-in-the-dark Inks A selection of colours are available when using this type of ink, the common is the traditional green emitting colour, however yellow, orange, rose, green and blue are also available. These inks can be used with most common printing processes, the cost of the inks are dependent on how brightly the ink glows and the life span of the glow effect. Printing the ink over a white base will improve the effectiveness of the glow in the dark effect.

Thermochromatic Inks
There are a range of colour available when using thermochromatic inks however they vary between the levels of activation and which colours are available for each, the activation levels come in three categories low-temperature, body-temperature and high-temperature. These inks can be printed with flexography, silkscreen printing or offset lithography. These inks can be effective preventing counterfeiting, however the cost is on average ten times the cost of normal inks.

Photochromatic Inks
A wide variety of colours are available which normally change from a clear or light shade of a colour to a true, rich colour when exposed to UV light. They are often printed using flexography, screen printing or offset lithography. Again these inks are used the help prevent counterfeiting and as expensive as thermochromatic inks.

[Calvert S, Casey A and Dabner D. (2010) 'A Foundation Course for Graphic Designers Working in Print, Moving Images and Digital Media' London, Thames and Hudson]

[Ambrose, G and Harris, P. (2009) 'The Fundamentals of Graphic Design' Switzerland, AVA Publishing]

[Ambrose, G and Harris, P. (2008) 'The Production Manual' Switzerland, AVA Publishing]

[Fishel, C. (2007) 'Mastering Materials, Bindings and Finishes' USA, Rockport Publisher, Inc.]

[Mason, D. (2007) 'Materials, Process, Print: Creative Solutions for Graphic Design' London, Laurence King]

Comments for this entry

Leave your comment


Copyright 2011 All rights reserved